Wilmington Whiteface Heritage Celebration

The Wilmington Historical Society is hosting the Wilmington Whiteface Heritage Celebration on Saturday, June 16th from 11 am-5pm at Festival Field located at 2 Cunningham Lane (just off Springfield Road) in Wilmington. One of three events happening throughout the day, it is free and open to the public. The Heritage Celebration will follow the 2nd annual Whiskey Run which begins at 9:30 am. The third event is a Speakeasy Soiree at Pourman’s Tap House which will take place from 8pm-11pm. All 3 events are a benefit for the Wilmington Historical Society which is raising funds for a new building.

Many of the activities of the Heritage Celebration focus on the area’s historically recurrent theme of whiskey. In its early days, the part of Jay that is now Wilmington had the reputation of providing good rye whiskey to the American troops as part of their daily rations during the Battle of Plattsburgh in the War of 1812. About 100 years later, being a small, quiet Northern village close to the Canadian border, Wilmington became a safe haven for bootleggers and rum runners transporting illicit spirits across the border during Prohibition. Even to this day, Wilmington is home to the oldest whiskey barrel cooperage in the Northeast, US Barrel. “We wanted to expand upon last year’s successful Whiskey Run and include more of our local history as an active sensory experience to connect people to their past,” stated Karen Peters, President of the Society.

The Battle of Plattsburgh re-enactors and encampment, including demonstrations, marches, and musket and cannon fire will provide much of the colorful activity for the day. Music, food, heritage crafters and artisans offering unique products for sale, traditional folk art demonstrations, displays, and craft whiskey and beer tastings will be among the unique happenings at Wilmington’s Festival Field. Food will be provided by Papa Duke’s Barbeque and Green Goddess Foods. At 12:30 pm the re-enactors will lead a procession from Festival Field to the Pleasant View Cemetery for a special memorial ceremony at the graveside of Corporal Stephen Partridge, one of the first heroes of the Battle of Plattsburgh. Author Colonel David Fitz-Enz will be on hand to sign books, four of which relate to the War of 1812. Local popular fiddler Don Perkins will be performing from 1pm-3pm. Distillers on hand to offer tastings and an opportunity to purchase their products include Gristmill Distillers of Keene, Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery of Queensbury, Murray’s Fools of Altona, Mountain Spirit Distilling of Plattsburgh, Albany Distilling of Albany. Blue Line Brewery of Saranac Lake and Valcour Brewery of Plattsburgh will offer tastings and sales of their craft brews. Artisans and Crafters will provide a unique shopping experience with their handcrafted items for sale ranging from rustic furniture to crocheted and knitted items to deer antler art. Visitors will be able to see how barrels are made, watch a blacksmith at his craft, learn about fly-tying, view 19th century quilting, and see how to make Adirondack pack baskets and porcupine jewelry. Bucksberry Farm will be on hand to sell early greens and vegetables. Other special foods such as honey and maple syrup will be for sale. Attendees will be able to participate in raffles and purchase a commemorative beer glass with a coupon inside for a free beer at Pourman’s Tap House (limit 100).

The Wilmington Whiteface Heritage Celebration is free and open to the public. For further information contact the Wilmington Historical Society, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, at whs12997@hotmail.com or go to www.adkwhiskeyrun.com or www.facebook.com/WilmingtonHistoricalSociety/ or www.wilmingtonhistoricalsociety.org The Battle of Plattsburgh re-enactors and fiddler Don Perkins are sponsored by a Humanities New York Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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